Video - Decentralization and the Architecture of Power

In this talk, recorded at D10E in San Francisco in July 2016, Andreas discusses the architecture of power, how decentralization compares to centralization and how each scales. Architecture determines how power is concentrated and has important implications for liberty.

TRANSCRIPT

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: All right, welcome everyone. Hello! Decentralize. So we hear decentralize and I think the topic for today should be about what is decentralization and why does it matter? What does decentralization mean? It’s a word that you hear a lot in this community and I think even though we talk about it a lot not everyone understands exactly what it means. So, that’s what I’m going to talk about today. What is decentralization? How is it compare to centralization? Why do we care?

So, first of all decentralization is not new. Decentralization in fact is the original form of organization. Decentralization means person-to-person and this is a system of organization we’ve used in society for as long as society existed. In fact centralization is the new invention. Centralization is the invention of agrarian economies. Centralization is how you organize cities to scale once you have density of population. We needed something to organize and out of that came politics, religion and organizational systems that centralize control so that you could scale agrarian societies. And now we’re talking about decentralization again and the reason is because we’re trying a different way to scale.

Centralization and decentralization fundamentally if you think about it is a matter of architecture, it’s the architecture of power. It’s how you organize power in a society. And centralization is a system of organization of power that looks like a pyramid. It’s a hierarchical system of power and it’s very efficient. It’s very efficient because it allows very large numbers of people to make decisions quickly and efficiently in a way it allowed agrarian societies to grow to tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions and now tens of millions and hundreds of millions of people within a single cohesive society. Centralized organization’s hierarchy allows you to marshal resources – marshal, of course being the word for raising armies. It’s probably one of the most important resources that was organized by centralized societies. But hierarchy has fatal flaw. And the fatal flaw of hierarchy as an organizational principle is that assets scales, it becomes more and more corrupted.

If you build a pyramid the wider the base the higher the top; the further apart the peak of the pyramid is from the base. And a system that is hierarchical and looks like a pyramid concentrates power from a very wide base to a pinnacle of power, the highest position of power, the top of the pyramid. Hierarchical systems are systems of concentration of power. What happens with human beings when you concentrate power? Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The higher up in the pyramid the more corrupt. It becomes (0:03:46) that attracts sociopaths. The problem with centralized systems of societal organization is that we can only scale them so far before they really, really start attracting the worst sociopaths imaginable.

If you have a village with a hundred people and you build a hierarchical system with a village council that represents the hundred villagers you don’t have a lot of power and okay, maybe your crazy uncle ends up being the sociopath in-charge of the hundred villagers that can’t really do a lot of damage. You’re wider than that pyramid and you create a system of hierarchical power that has a hundred million people at the bottom and you will attract a very big sociopath to rise at the top of that pyramid and they will arrive at a position of power that is very far removed from the bottom of that pyramid.

Decentralized systems are an architecture that represents a flat system. Every peer is equal. And so in a decentralized system the problem is that you cannot scale horizontally and continue to make decisions efficiently, that is until we invented network protocols. And with network protocols what we can do now is take flat systems and scale them to millions of participants and still make decisions efficiently. We can take a flat system like the Bitcoin Blockchain and every ten minutes we can hold a vote and decide what the current state of consensus is in a flat system that now scales to millions of participants. We can take the internet and scale out freedom of information to three or four billion people without hierarchy.

So, the reason we’re talking about decentralized systems again after thousands of years in which centralized systems dominated is because we now have the ability through network protocols to scale decision-making in a flat system across millions of participants. But decentralized systems are not efficient. They’re not efficient at making decisions. If you want efficiency you build the pyramid. What is the truth? Whatever the guy at the top says. What do we do? Whatever the guy at the top says. How fast can you make a decision? As fast as the guy at the top. But the problem with that is corruption. Not only do you attract sociopaths but the bigger you build the pyramid the more of sociopaths you attract. And you get this disparity of power, this enormous disparity of power between the top and bottom of the pyramid. Why would anyone at the bottom of the pyramid agree to the system? Why would they continue to believe that this is a powerful and efficient system of organization? Because of one simple lie and that lie is the promise that one day you can climb up that pyramid and that power can be yours. And if you believe that lie which is obviously untrue because there’s very few positions at the top and a very broad base, clearly not everyone can climb to the top. But you have the Lake Wobegon effect which is we’re all above average. I, too, one day aspire to be rich so I don’t want the rich to be taxed. I aspired to be powerful so I don’t want the powerful decisions to be questioned. I aspired to become an authority so I don’t want people challenging authority. That lie is the basis on which you sell a pyramid system to a hundred million slaves at the bottom. That lie is the basis on which you sell sociopathy on a grand scale to entire populations. And until now that’s the only thing that you could scale hundreds of millions of people. We can do better now. We can build systems of organization at scale with millions of participants that are flat, that do not create concentrations of power, that have no levers to pull, that have no position for a sociopath in them because the sociopath has as much power or if you think about it as little power as everybody else.

Now as you can guess some people object to this new arrangement of things. And the way they will object is by pointing out the inefficiency of the system. “You can’t make decisions fast enough. You’re not efficient” they’ll say while pointing to the decentralized system you can’t even arrive at a decision to raise the block size limit. Look at us we have a meeting every Friday and when Ms. Ellen (0:09:34) says we’re raising the interest rate we’re raising the interest rate. Simple. Direct. Efficient. Efficiency is great unless you’re one of the hundred million slaves at the bottom of the pyramid in which case the efficient decision might be to just squash you a bit more, squeeze you a bit more. Efficiency is a trade-off and the trade-off you’re making is liberty. The whole point of the decentralized systems is not to be more efficient but to give you liberty, autonomy, independence, empowerment for everyone who participates. Not the lie that one day you will rise a couple of rungs farther up the ladder. So when the shits slides downhill it’s going to pass you by barely missing you and hit some unfortunate soul on the rung below you. You’re like “Ahhh (0:10:43) feels good to be part of the upper class.” That is a lie.

Now, if you think of these systems as architecture then the architecture determines how power is attracted to that architecture. If you have an architecture of a system that looks like a pyramid it will create a focal point that attracts power at the top. If the architecture is flat it provides fewer opportunities for power to concentrate. And decentralization versus centralization is not a binary state, right? It’s not 100% centralized or 100% decentralized. Most of the time it’s somewhere in between but the degree of centralization versus decentralization matters especially when you’re talking about a battle for power. This architecture determines how power will evolve over time in society.

We’re presenting an alternative mechanism for organizing societies. At a very basic level you might look at it and say “It’s a currency, it’s a payment system. It’s a system for supporting smart contracts” but that’s not what it is. The technology behind Bitcoin is not the Blockchain. The technology behind Bitcoin is the architecture of decentralization. That is the thing that’s magical. That is the thing that gives us the opportunity to change the equation of power, to change the architecture of power. And the best part about it is that the scale between centralization and decentralization is asymmetric. What does that mean? If you have a system of power that’s based on decentralization you have to have 100% control. A little bit of decentralization really screws up the system. We don’t need to be 100% decentralized. A little bit of decentralization goes a long way.

Let’s take a hypothetical – let’s say you have a stadium and this stadium has a hundred gates and you’re holding a concert inside that stadium, right? And you want to apply a system of centralized control in order to get paid for the tickets to the concert. Of the hundred gates how many of those gates do you need to control and check for tickets for that concert to not be a free concert?

MAN #1: Ninety-nine.

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: One hundred. Because if you only control 99 gates and everybody knows which gate is free, your stadium will fill up even though no one came through the 99 gates. You have a free concert because you left one of the gates open. If you have a system of end-to-end control that applies identity and rules of control and censorship over money, how may doors do you need to leave open for everyone who wants to to take the exit? One. Bitcoin. And you immediately undermine the system of end-to-end control. In fact the gatekeepers are then left with this incredible delimma if there is a way to exit the system and you don’t have end-to-end control who are you left surveilling and controlling? The innocent and the idiots; the people who could not figure out how to use Door Number 99, the one that was free. So you set up a system of totalitarian surveillance and control and we open a little door on the side that says Bitcoin over it and everybody who wants can take that door and who are you left collecting identity? Who are you left collecting surveillance information on over their payments? The innocent and the idiots. You got a data set that is useless. Centralization and decentralization are not equal architectures. If you decentralized a tiny bit in a system of control, control evaporates.

If you have a dam that’s holding back a lake 100% structural integrity is the standard. 99% structural integrity means your valley is a lake. Bitcoin is someone drilling a hole in the dam of international finance. Twelve billion dollars are now flowing through that hole leaking out of the system draining the lake and the hole keeps getting wider and they’re freaking out watching this little hole get wider and wider and what they haven’t noticed is a thousand other cryptocurrencies drilling holes next to it and so the system of centralization can be broken with a tiny bit of decentralization. But we also have to be careful. Decentralized systems are subject to corruption and capture if you give them a target. If you create a point of control, if you concentrate power within the decentralized system, that point of control, that concentration of power immediately becomes a target. It becomes a target because in this battle between these two architectures power is attracted to points of control and the moment you create a point of control it will be attacked. If there is someone to serve a subpoena they will serve a subpoena. If there is someone to censor they will censor. If there is someone to persecute, to disappear, to kidnap, to assassinate they will do that. Not in this country maybe. But what happens when you offend powers in some of the other countries in the world?

In order for decentralized systems to be effective we have to guard against the concentration of power. We have to maintain decentralization to give no handhold, no lever, no point of control or concentration that will allow that system to be re-centralized. And every time someone says we’re going to fix this we can make it more efficient we can add identity, increase transaction rates, speed things up what they’re talking about is building a pyramid again. What they’re talking about is centralizing power again. And so, what we’re looking at right now is establishing an architecture of freedom that allows us to change the nature of social institutions. This is not about payments. Payments just (0:18:17). This is about understanding that we now have through internet protocols the ability to redesign the mechanisms of social organization to create systems that are egalitarian, that provide autonomy, independence, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and empowerment for millions and billions of individuals around the world simply by changing the shape, simply by choosing decentralization. That’s what is going on here today. This is why Bitcoin and other things like it are absolutely terrifying to those who are trying to preserve the architecture of power. Because if you are in the pyramid in a position of power and you look down what do you see? You see a hundred million slaves, right? You see the lowest rung of power in the pyramid and if you think that the flat and decentralized system means that everybody gets to live like that that’s terrifying, right? That’s terrifying because that’s the only example you can see of the masses sitting under the weight of a system of power that is crushing people. But that’s not what decentralized systems are about. Decentralized systems where everyone is a peer are not about anyone being stepped on, they’re about everyone being equal in representation and so decentralization is not a scary thing. It’s a promise of hope. It’s a promise of hope for a form of organization of our society that can create new opportunities for everyone. And that’s my message today. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you.

(0:20:34) do we have some time for questions or do you want to do some questions?

MAN #1: Sure, (0:20:39) questions (0:20:41)

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: (0:20:47)

MAN #1: Yep, (0:20:48).

MAN #2: So, Bitcoin is really power to offer accumulating capital that is (0:20:57) private keys (0:21:00) wealth being taken away and this is (0:21:04) I heard Bitcoin is described as like hypercapitalism kind of system. Now, capitalism itself is an ideology and legal system that enables the accumulation of capital rather than like widely distribution of capital and this accumulation of capital concentrates power and resources to smaller and smaller, fewer and fewer hands over a period of time. Do you think that capitalism is compatible with decentralization and accountability and some of the ideas you’re talking about there with like reduced (0:21:42) like power in hierarchies or do you think that capitalism and decentralization are at odds, its concepts?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: I think they are orthogonal and that I don’t think – I think capitalism in itself is a specific way of organizing the pyramid. When you take away the pyramid and you create something different then the label capitalism itself doesn’t really apply to this new model. So, it’s as obsolete as, you know, agrarian and feudalism is in an urban environment. You can’t really apply that model to the new mechanism of organization. It is important to make a fundamental distinction between capitalism and free markets. The thing about Bitcoin and the reason it’s still disrupted is because Bitcoin represents free markets, doesn’t represent capitalism. It represents free markets at a level that has not been done before with a hierarchy or – sorry, with an architecture that has never been done before and none of the old labels apply. So, trying to figure out through the political system how we re-arrange the layers of the pyramid is precisely why this is so exciting because we’re saying don’t try to decide who gets to the top, remove the pyramid from the equation completely. That is really the proposition that has a lot of people excited. Network-centric systems are organization that are flat, completely changed the entire political spectrum and labels like capitalism really don’t apply anymore.

MAN #2: So, I mean if in a system like Bitcoin that enables this massive accumulation of capital, you know, (0:23:35) really that accumulation capital that leads to this imbalance of power? And so do you think that the hierarchy might not be arranged politically but it would be arranged through market forces?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: Possibly. In which case you should use another decentralized network to disrupt Bitcoin 30 years from now on the disrupt area. Give it 30 years once it gets corrupted start again. And one of the great things about decentralized architecture is they now give us an engine, a template, a recipe for continuously disrupting the accumulation of power. That is the primary force of these decentralized systems. Right now we’re disrupting a system of power where the accumulation of wealth is based on how many thousands of people your grandfather killed and if in 30 years we have to disrupt the system of power based on how many early blocks you mined, your grandfather mined, that’s still a better system of power than what we have today and maybe we’ll need to disrupt that one too.

MAN #2: All right. Thanks, Andreas.

MAN #3: Hi, Andreas. Thank you for the talk. I think this is – what Bitcoin is doing looks to me like just another (0:25:02) of the spiral and examples of the previous (0:25:05) PayPal and like 10 years – PayPal 10 years ago has a lot of people to pay over the internet which must develop (0:25:16) a new regulation or if you take it like 20 years back internet has disrupted the structure of power by allowing free flow of information and control of information is one of the methods of control and if you look even like 100 years back –

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: Right.

MAN #3: – banking system, I guess, has done something similar by introducing an alternative of transferring the physical world and people tends to reproduce the same system where (0:25:46) screwed again and again no matter how advanced instruments you gave it to them. What do you think is the root cause of this behavior? Thanks.

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: That’s a great question. I mean I think the root cause of that behavior is that humans are prone to tribalism and so we tend to make assumptions and have cognitive biases that are self-disruptive as a species. But if you look at all of these range – this periods of disruption right, going from a system where only royalty has access to what we now called banking, to banking that is available to the broader populations starting in the 15th to 16th century to fiat, to the internet, to PayPal to Bitcoin one of the things you notice is that every time we have a (0:26:45) of power to use a Bitcoin (0:26:47) right, and the period keeps accelerating. So what we’re doing is we’re accelerating the time during which we can apply a new disruption to the previous disruption and power is diffusing more and more and more and more and some people look at the past and say “Oh, it was a glorious time” but to me, you know, I think today the world lives in a time that where the vast majority of people have more freedom than ever before, access to more resources, access to more information, higher standard of living than ever before we’re just accelerating the cycles. And again I’m not married to the specific implementation of decentralization that is Bitcoin, I am looking at decentralization as a trend. Bitcoin is the current incarnation that is achieving success and when it stops fulfilling the needs of the people we’ll do something else if it stops fulfilling the needs of the people. Michael?

MAN #4: So, I was curious to – I love your analogy of the hole of the dam getting wider and other holes. So what happens if, you know, 50-50 chance I mean obviously (0:28:03) propping up the stock market and everything else right now but let’s say we have black swan moment with – like say Deutsche Bank going under and dragging down twenty times the (0:28:14) of the European economy, does that dam just break and what does that means for the average person in North America and Europe?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: Oh, that’s a really good question. First of all I don’t think that’s a black swan moment, that’s a white swan moment. We’ve seen it before, we know what it looks like, we know it’s coming. I mean there’s nothing surprising about Deutsche Bank going belly up at this point. Once every newspaper you ever read has predicted it, it’s no longer a black swan. So, it’s probably going to come from somewhere else that we don’t expect like, you know, the third largest Italian bank you’ve never heard of. I hope that doesn’t happen and I hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon and I’m actually perplexed by people in this community who wish for and see Bitcoin as thriving in a moment of chaos and collapse in traditional currencies. I lived in a country that did have currency crisis twice. I’ve visited many countries that have currency crisis. It is ugly a lot of really good people get (0:29:25) generations lose their future overnight and do not recover in 30 years and so we should not be wishing for that. If we do have a global economic crisis at this point Bitcoin is not ready to absorb anything, let’s be realistic. There is no exit valve even if everybody in Bitcoin actually gains an advantage from having some diversification that’s not going to make much of a difference to anybody else. All of the investments in Bitcoin, not just in companies but also in individuals and entrepreneurs and startups dries up instantly overnight and we’re all set back across the board by a decade so I don’t wish that on anyone. I hope that doesn’t happen. Unfortunately the system is very fragile so there’s a good chance it might happen. So, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out. I certainly don’t want people to think that just because Bitcoin can act as a safe haven investment, just because it can act as an exit valve, just because we see that when things like Brexit or the Yuan devaluation happened Bitcoin spikes up. There’s a big leap (0:30:42) between that and saying “I hope the world burn so I make money on my Bitcoin.”

MAN #4: (0:30:49) there is the more likely scenario which is when it burns the fire is put out by several trillion dollars with a helicopter money that’s not even the (0:30:58) IMF doing like, you know, 100 trillion dollar bail ups and things like that now we’ll then have a different effect in terms of the size of the hole in the wall.

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: Not really. To me I think, you know, and again I’m not an economist which probably means I speculate with complete immunity from criticism but if you consider that the world economy is on the floor and flat lines and you’ve already delivered a hundred electroshocks and three (0:31:31) in order to wake it up, a larger dose of adrenaline is not going to help at this point. You know, so helicopter money? How many times does that work? More happens when it doesn’t. So I am not very optimistic for that particular one. Question at the back there.

MAN #5: I also like the analogy you gave of the hole in the dam so, given that truth right, the state and international financiers don’t like that money leaving their system how do you think they’re going to respond in the coming months or years, it’s hard to predict the future but how do you address that (0:32:23)?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: Well, I estimate that they’re going to go through five stages of response. Stage one is denial. Bitcoin can’t work, Bitcoin won’t work, Bitcoin isn’t working except that it is. Stage two is anger. Bitcoin is for terrorists, criminals and pedophiles just like they said about the internet until of course it isn’t. Stage three is bargaining. We can do Blockchains. We’re at stage three now. We can do Blockchains and that will fix everything. We’ll just take the open borderless, transnational, open innovation, open permissionless system and make it closed, jurisdiction specific, permission base and take everything good out of it and then we have a Blockchain. Ta-ta. Which is a bit like the Horse and Carriage Association of America saying “Listen, we study this newfangled automobile and it seems kind of sketchy we don’t think that’s going to work but we are now heavily invested in pneumatic tires.” Pneumatic tire is the technology behind the automobile is the thing that we believe makes all the difference. So we now present the new horse-and-buggy carriage with pneumatic tires and that will preserve our investment in stables, veterinary, doctors and hay. That’s bargaining. After bargaining comes depression, and after depression finally acceptance. And acceptance is when the global financial system gets re-engineered to work on open borderless, public ledgers. And it will. There is absolutely no question in my mind about that.

MAN #5: Excellent analogy. Do you see the 14th nanometer transistor limit as being a good thing for decentralization or bad thing?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: I think it’s a really good thing. So to repeat the question (0:34:36) do I see the 14th nanometer limit of transistor. Basically what this means is that we’ve seen this enormous increase and hashing capacity of Bitcoin specifically proof-of-work network because it’s been catching up to Moore’s law and (0:34:51) slammed into Moore’s law and Moore’s law appears to be like a wall. It’s a very good thing for decentralization. What it does is it extends the shelf life of mining equipment from two to three months of usable lifecycle to almost two years which levels the playing field across all of the participants in the system. Until now the determinant of success in mining was how many kilometers you were from the fabrication lab, how fast you could get that stuff out of the lab onto a truck, from a truck into a warehouse and hook up to 50 megawatts of electricity. And that means that all of it was within about 100 kilometers (0:35:32) or 500 kilometers. That’s it. Because if you try to put it on a ship and move it across the water it leaves your shores as a fantastic mining equipment and it arrives in California as scrap metal three months later. But if you have a two-year shelf life you can now re-decentralize mining to take advantage of differences in electricity cost.

One of the really interesting opportunities is renewable energy that has cycles of demand in it. For example, you have production for solar or wind or hydro that production is fixed. You get this many megawatt hours coming out of your pipe all the time but the actual consumption in the distribution network changes over the day, right? What do you do with the excess capacity? One opportunity is to think about taking that excess capacity and using it to mine Bitcoin when it’s not being used for consumption. Essentially that’s energy you would be generating anyway that would completely loss and now you can convert that into Bitcoin. Effectively Bitcoin is a battery on a virtual Blockchain. Shall we do the last one?

MAN #6: One more, yeah.

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: One more, last one.

MAN #6: All right. Hey Andreas, thank you for your good presentation. What do you say I’d love to hear your thoughts on a lot of people that I talked to Bitcoin, you know when I talk a lot of people about Bitcoin (0:37:06) like yeah well, a large majority of your decentralized system is now buying almost (0:37:14) in China by very few organizations. What’s the Andreas’ response to that?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: Oh, the Andreas’ response is that in order to understand the consensus mechanism you have to understand that are five constituencies of consensus and none of them has complete control over the system, all of them have to agree. You have the developers, you have mining, you have exchanges, you have wallets and you have merchant services. Now, if you’re a miner and you decided to take your chain in a certain direction and none of the economic activity follows you, merchants, exchanges, wallets, users and developers stay on the other side now you’re mining a chain that has no economic value for Bitcoin that you cannot exchange, sell or use mining products and services. So, really there’s a balance there. And in fact one of the significant points of balance is that the vast majority of development, the vast majority of startups and the vast majority of users are the Western world and the vast majority of mining is in China, that’s a beautiful balance. Because that means that not only does that mean that the Chinese miners can’t take over, it also means that the Western developers can’t take over. It creates a balance of power. I think that’s a good system. Now, I don’t think it’s healthy to have all of the mining centralized and I think there’s a lot of centralization in mining but as I mentioned before I think that is an artifact of the very rapid increase, almost a million folded performance over a period of the last four, five years from CPU to GPU to FPGA to ASIC and from 14 nanometer down to 60 and now we hit a wall. And now when you have 2X every two years that changes the system dramatically. Everybody slows down and we’re going to see a re-decentralization of mining, I think.

MAN #7: Did you have (0:39:21)

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: All right.

MAN #8: Yeah, one more question. (0:39:26) like 10 hours ago there was this hardfork Ethereum and (0:39:31) opinions are going away or are differences so some people say well, now they shifted to work something that is centralized as I say well, i chose – give me completely decentralized system that is capable of making such systems and reacting to emergency so what is your opinion here? Was that the decentralized process or was it centralized, what’s your take on that?

ANDREAS ANTONOPOULOS: I think what this proves fundamentally is that you can have opinions and then you have to follow what the market is doing because the market will punish your opinions if you follow on the wrong side of that fork. So you can have a opinions or you can have money and that’s how mining works. That’s how the consensus mechanism works. You hold onto your opinions until it becomes destructively unprofitable to hold those opinions and then you change your opinions. Now we saw a few of the miners saying “We’re against the fork. Oh, it seems to be succeeding. Okay, we’re with the fork,” right? And that is a really powerful statement because we saw one of the scenarios that is a nightmare scenario for a hardfork (0:40:38) is an even split or even a situation where you have 70% of the power on one side, 30% on the other and the 30% is able to continue to grow, that’s a nightmare scenario. That’s where you have opportunities for arbitrage and transaction replay between the chains. What you want is a swift, hard decision where one of the forks dies as quickly as possible and you get closure and what we saw as predicted by many is that the economic incentives are so enormous that you really have a very quick closure of the issue and I hope that’s what it demonstrates. We’re going to have to wait a few more days to see how it plays out but I think that’s exactly what we’re going to see. That’s very instructive for hardforks that are going to be done perhaps by other chains in the near future. And you can say that Ethereum is more centralized today than it was or has demonstrated to be more centralized than we thought it would be and is demonstrating a different type of immutability that is a community consensus base immutability rather than a code is law immutability they claim to have before but that’s not a bad thing. It’s exploring a different niche for different types of applications that don’t need that level of hard immutability but that need the flexibility of a community response. And my primary argument has always been that with all of these cryptocurrencies what we’re doing is we’re experimenting to see what fitness or purpose each of these species of money has and what is the application space that they fit best and you can say this currency is X but the market might disagree with you and it may end up being something else once market test it. Satoshi Nakamoto said Bitcoin was supposed to a payment system for digital cash for every transaction with one CPU one vote. Turns out they were wrong. He was wrong, she was wrong. We don’t know but it seems like Bitcoin is evolving in a slightly different direction, right? Ethereum was supposed to be a completely immutable code (0:42:51) contract system. Turns out it isn’t. We’ll see what it turns out, right? So, again, you can have strong opinions about what something is and the market may prove otherwise and the best thing about this is that now we’re running experiments on a scale of 1–12 billion dollars in real life with real actors with real stake and those experiments are delivering mountains of data that allow us to refine our models, build better systems and learn from these things and no one else is doing that. That’s the beauty of this cryptocurrency.

(END OF AUDIO)

Written by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on July 26, 2016.